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Science • Space
Piece of a lunar meteorite is under auction for projected $250,000

A piece of the Northwest Africa 5000 lunar meteorite, that was discovered in the Western Sahara Desert in 2007, is under auction and projected to be sold for $250,000. The slice of the meteorite used to be part of a bigger rock that was cut several times and contains metal that is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old.

Northern Ireland: Gay and bisexual men will be able to donate blood three months after last sexual activity

In a change of policy Northern Ireland is planning on changing the rules for blood donations by gay and bisexual men. The health minister, Robin Swann, said that the decision to change the time period from one year down to three months was based on "evidence regarding the safety of donated blood". Every blood is getting tested after the donation and he said that it's "important for every donor to comply with any deferral rules that apply to them". The chances are planned to take effect from June on.

Sports • Soccer
Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora believes Serie A clubs should be "thinking about next season"

After France, the Netherlands, and Belgium leagues called off their seasons, Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora stated: "These decisions could push Italy to follow this line, which would become a European line".

Spadafora also said "If the championship should ever resume, it will certainly be behind closed doors,"

Business • Media & Advertising
Spotify’s Premium subscriber base reachs 130 million users.
View from Spotify’s Stockholm HQ
View from Spotify’s Stockholm HQ Credit: Spotify

Spotify published its financial results for Q1 2020, reporting that it had 130 million Premium subscribers globally at the end of the quarter. That was up by 6m subscribers compared to the end of the prior quarter (Q4 2019) and up by 30m (+31%) compared to the same period last year.

The company stated it started seeing a fall in users in late February in virus-affected countries such as Italy and Spain, but has seen a meaningful recovery in the last few weeks.

Total revenue was €1.85 billion, an increase of 22% compared to last year, while premium subscription revenue grew by 23% reaching €1.70 billion.

Business • Economy
U.S. GDP falls by 4.8 percent in first quarter

America's GDP – gross domestic product – shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2020, making it the biggest contraction since the Great Recession. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, experts believe that the decline will continue into the second quarter of 2020.

Kevin Hassett, White House economic adviser, estimates GDP could go down by 20 to 30 percent, calling it "the biggest shock since the Great Depression".

Science • Animals
No whales will be killed in Iceland in 2020

Both of the Icelandic companies that hunt and kill whales have announced that they'll forgo killing whales in 2020. This makes the first time in 17 years that no whales will be killed during the summer season in the waters around Iceland. Thee general manager of IP-Utgerd, one of the two companies, has said that the hunting has become more expensive due to an extension of a no-fishing zone near the coasts of the island. Instead the company will focus on fishing sea cucumbers.

Business • Economy
Prescriptions to be delivered via drones to Florida retirement community

UPS and CVS are starting a drone delivery service of prescription drugs to Florida's largest retirement community in early May. The Villages, a retirement community northwest of Orlando, is home to over more 135,000 people, most of which are deemed high-risk for Covid-19. “Our new drone delivery service will help CVS provide safe and efficient deliveries of medicines to this large retirement community, enabling residents to receive medications without leaving their homes,” Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, said. UPS received government approval for their drone airline last fall.

The WWII veteran who raised millions for health care workers celebrates 100th birthday

British WWII veteran Captain Tom Moore has raised over 29 million pounds for health care workers by walking laps in his garden turns 100 on Thursday. He first set out to walk 100 laps over 10 days and had hoped to raise £1,000. In honour of his birthday, he has received more than 125,000 birthday cards so far, including one from Prince William and Duchess Kate.

Climate & Environment
The economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic must be a "green recovery" - Germany, UK

Spokespeople from Germany and the United Kingdom said that instead of investing "in technologies of the past" the recovery should be a "green and resilient" one that "leaves no one behind". The German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Svenja Schulze, said that "Unlike in the fight against the coronavirus, we already know the vaccines for the climate crisis".

Politics • American • US
Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden for president
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Intramural Fields at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Intramural Fields at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton - 2016 Democratic presidential nominee - announced her endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The endorsement, at an online town hall on the effects of the coronavirus crisis on women, came at a critical moment as Biden aims to raise his profile with female voters and other key demographic groups even as the pandemic ravages the U.S. economy.

Biden, who has vowed to pick a woman as his running mate this year, introduced Clinton at the town hall as the person who should now be president.

Politics • European
Spain announces Covid-19 lockdown exit strategy

Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of Spain, has announced a four-stage plan to release the Spanish lockdown that began on the 14th March.

Phase one will begin on the 11th May and will entail the limited opening of small shops, hotels, restaurants, and places of worship, with strict social distancing conditions.

Each phase will last a maximum of two weeks, with the move to the next stage being reviewed on a weekly basis. Spain is expected to reach its new normality by mid to late June.

Politics • American • Brazil
Supreme court of Brazil allows investigation of President Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his cabinet during a pronouncement
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his cabinet during a pronouncement Credit: Carolina Antunes/PR (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice José Celso de Mello Filho gave the green light for an investigation of alleged corruption and obstruction of justice by President Jair Bolsonaro after the country’s outgoing justice minister, Sérgio Moro, accused him of attempting to interfere with federal police probes.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
The Academy officially changes Oscar rules due to coronavirus

Movies that debuted on a streaming service without a theatrical run will be eligible for the Oscars, but only for the 2021 awards season, announced The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

"Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards," the board said in a statement.

Tokyo Olympics next year could be cancelled without a coronavirus vaccine

It will be difficult for Tokyo to host the Olympic Games next year unless there is an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Yoshitake Yokokura, the head of the Japan Medical Association (JMA) said Tuesday.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games until July 23, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a month-long state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections across the country.

The president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee Yoshiro Mori states there would be no more delays: “No, in that situation, it will be canceled,” he said. “In the past, when there were such problems, like wartime, it has been canceled. This time, we are fighting an invisible enemy.”.

Lifestyle • Food
10 apple varieties thought to be extinct rediscovered
10 apple varieties thought to be extinct rediscovered
Credit: unsplash.com/@annakaminova

The non-profit organisation Lost Apple Project has rediscovered ten types of apples that had been thought to be extinct. The apples have been found in abandoned homesteads in Genesee, Idaho. Nowadays only 15 varieties account for 90% of apple production in the US, even though more than 17,000 different named apple sorts have once existed.

No professional sports in France until September

No professional sport will be occurring in France until September. The 2019-2020 seasons for all domestic professional sports leagues, including professional soccer in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, will not be completed either in public or behind closed doors.

The Tour de France had been rescheduled by the International Cycling Union for August 29th to September 20th, 2020. The statement leaves a degree of uncertainty about the status of the Tour de France, which was not specifically mentioned by Edouard Philippe in ruling out sport before the start of September.

Politics • Middle Eastern
Turkey Deployed Over 2,800 Military Vehicles In Syria’s Greater Idlib

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed Turkish military has deployed 2,810 vehicles in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib since the ceasefire became active on March 5 and a total of 10,300 Turkish service members have been sent to the region since last February.

Climate & Environment
Sweden's last coal plant to be closed two years early
Image of Coal Plant
Image of Coal Plant Credit: pexels.com/@pixabay

Sweden's last coal-fired power station, which was set to seize operation in 2022, has been closed prematurely. A statement on Stockholm Exergi's website read: “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time, today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan." Sweden is the next European country to go coal-free, following Austria and Belgium.

Politics • American • US
CDC adds six symptoms to its COVID-19 List

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new symptoms to its existing list of symptoms for COVID-19.

The CDC has long said that fever, cough, and shortness of breath are indications that someone might have the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It has now added more conditions that may come with the disease: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Also, this list is not all-inclusive, and the CDC recommends consulting a medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Sports • Basketball
German Basketball League considers finishing season with a 10 clubs playoff
View from Mercedez Benz Arena before an Alba Berlin game
View from Mercedez Benz Arena before an Alba Berlin game Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The clubs of easyCredit BBL unanimously agreed in a video conference to end the 2019/2020 season if corresponding official permits for the necessary training and game operations is obtained.

It is planned the season with continue with playoffs at one location with FC Bayern Munich Basketball, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim, ALBA BERLIN, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, RASTA Vechta, Brose Bamberg, BG Göttingen, ratiopharm ulm and the FRAPORT SKYLINERS.

The location will be announced on Monday, May 4th, 2020.